Transportable or Tiny Homes
Transportable or tiny homes are becoming increasingly popular in the Waipā District as an affordable housing option. This page provides guidance around Council’s Planning requirements for tiny and transportable homes under the District Plan*.
Defining transportable or tiny homes under the District Plan
The Waipā District Plan has no provisions specifically for transportable or tiny homes. Instead, most transportable or tiny homes fall within the District Plan’s “Secondary dwelling” definition.
A ‘Secondary dwelling’ as defined in the District Plan, means an independent dwelling that is secondary to the principal dwelling on the same site.
Transportable or tiny homes often have wheels or are fixed to trailers that have vehicle registrations and Warrants of Fitness. Because of this, transportable or tiny homes are sometimes thought to be vehicles and therefore exempt from the District Plan’s dwelling rules. This is not the case. Warrants of Fitness and registrations apply only to the trailer on which the structure is sitting, while Council’s planning rules apply to the structure itself. As the structure is intended to be used as a place of residence, it is considered a dwelling under the District Plan.
However, if the tiny house is just a room for sleeping and is not self-contained, meaning it does not contain cooking facilities and is reliant on another dwelling on the same site – i.e., it cannot be lived in independently – it is considered a sleepout and not a dwelling. Sleepouts are essentially treated like any other extension of an existing dwelling.
What rules apply to transportable or tiny homes?
Most transportable or tiny homes are placed on sections where a dwelling already exists, so they are usually subject to secondary dwelling rules.
To be a permitted activity, Secondary dwellings must be:
- No more than 70m² (excluding decking and garaging);
- In the Residential Zone, must be located:
- on a site that is at least 850m²; and
- be encompassed within the bulk of the Principal dwelling on the site.
- In the Large Lot Residential zone:
- on a site that is at least 2500m² (2000m² in Pirongia and Houchens Road)
- In the Rural zone, there is no minimum site size requirement for secondary dwellings.
Therefore, detached secondary dwellings in the Residential and Large Lot Residential zones require resource consent under this rule. In the Rural zone, secondary dwellings are not required to be encompassed within the main dwelling and can be detached.
Secondary dwellings must also comply with all rules or performance standards for permitted activities in the relevant zone. In the Residential zone, for example, secondary dwellings must comply not only with secondary dwelling rules but also setbacks (4 metres from road boundaries, and 2 metres from internal site boundaries), site coverage (maximum 40% of the net site area), impermeable surfaces (maximum 60%), and potentially other rules. Each zone has different rules or performance zones that your transportable or tiny home will need to comply with.
Some sites may be subject to District Plan overlays such as Landscape overlays which require resource consent for any new building.
What consents are required?
Should any relevant District Plan rules be infringed, a resource consent will be required . Rules for each zone are set out in full in Section D of the Waipa District Plan, available on Council’s District Plan webpage.
It is important to note that a resource consent (to do with the District Plan) is separate from a building consent (to do with the Building Code). While a resource consent is only required where District Plan rules are infringed, a building consent is required in all cases where a transportable or tiny dwelling is being connected to utility services or where new foundations for the dwelling are being constructed.
Often transportable homes are issued Building Code Compliance Certificates at the time of assembly; however, these certificates only apply to the structure of the dwelling itself and a separate, further building consent is needed to cover any new utility connections or foundations.
Please be also aware that placing a secondary dwelling would trigger a development contribution – a one-off charge intended to offset the increased demand on infrastructure caused by an additional home. The property rates will also be affected by locating a secondary dwelling on a property.
For more information about the building consent process, please contact Council’s Building team either by phoning 0800 924 723 or emailing email@example.com.
If you have any questions about the content of this document, or are seeking advice regarding the suitability of specific properties for a secondary dwelling and what zone rules may apply, please contact Council’s Duty Planner either by phoning 0800 924 723 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.